What is Commercial Photography?

commercial photography brisbane- cafe booth

If you are in need of photos for promotional purposes, it’s very important to make the distinction between various types of photography – most notably commercial photography. The main difference is the focus and technique. However, to reduce it all down – it’s all about capturing the most ‘sellable’ features of a subject, whether that be a flash apartment complex, right through to the most basic coffee pot!

Commercial photography is most commonly used in the retail and wholesale sectors, finding applications in a wide range of traditional and digital forms of advertising and marketing. Some typical examples include magazines, lookbooks and billboards. In this niche form of photography, the product almost always forms the central subject matter. Often the background is generally kept neutral and/or diffused – in order to not detract from the main selling point.

This naturally crosses over into advertising photography, with commercial photography comprising the number one element in an advertising campaign. Advertising photography is differentiated from art and similar forms of photography, which are usually the result of a creative inclination or hobbyistic pursuit. It might sound oversimplified, but the fundamental point about commercial photography is that it is produced primarily for commercial use.

It is true that commercial photographers create images not only to sell products, but in order to ‘sell the dream’ behind them. This is a feat that requires expert technical skills and a significant amount of strategy. Only a professional is able to clearly capture and convey what a brand stands for, ie. drive brand awareness. This will require a trained eye a finely tuned understanding of what best attracts an audience’s attention, in what may even compel consumers into making a purchasing decision. After all, creating a successful sale is exactly what commercial photography is all about!


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